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Qatar tribune

Tribune News Network

Doha

Texas A&M University at Qatar, a Qatar Foundation partner university, is leading a cluster project which aims to build a comprehensive national resilience framework. It will bring stakeholders from different critical sectors and society together to collectively work under a common objective of improving Qatar’s capacity to prepare for, respond to, and recover from emergencies and disasters.

This project was awarded the National Priority Research Program (NPRP) grant in the cluster track by Qatar National Research Fund. The aim of this track is to solve complex, interdisciplinary research problems that require a holistic approach, with larger teams and strategic management to steer sub-projects towards achieving an impactful outcome.

The project, ‘Proactive Resilience Plan (PReP): An Integrated Framework Applied to Critical Economic Sectors’ is led by Dr Eyad Masad, Mechanical Engineering Professor at Texas A&M at Qatar. The other collaborators include Qatar University, Hamad Bin Khalifa University, Qatar Petrochemical Company, University of Georgia and other stakeholders from various government agencies and companies. Lead principal investigators for the various sub-projects within the cluster include Dr. Masad, Dr. Bjorn Birgisson (University of Georgia), Dr. Andreas Rechkemmer (Hamad Bin Khalifa University), Dr. Marwan Khraisheh (Texas A&M University at Qatar) and Dr. Abdel Magid Hamouda (Qatar University). The project aims to enhance resilience in three critical sectors in the country: infrastructure, manufacturing and industrial plants.

Masad said, “Texas A&M at Qatar is committed to supporting Qatar achieve its goals in line with Qatar National Vision 2030, and implementing a robust resilience national framework, which can withstand any external or internal pressures, is crucial. Through this project, we are not just providing our technical expertise in engineering, but we are also bringing together a group of partners from diverse disciplines including public policy and governance and sustainability. Different sectors and industries have reliance plans in place; we are looking for integrating these plans to build a comprehensive framework. As the project lead, Texas A&M at Qatar is the convener of stakeholders, and will be the central manager bringing all the key partners together.”

The objective of this research is to design and implement a new and innovative framework for achieving national preparedness, resilience, and adaptive response to ensure continuity and will benefit from Qatar’s impressive development efforts. It integrates qualitative and quantitative assessment of resilience, community engagement, policy, national-level governance, risk management, and an effective supply chain system.

The first sub-project aims to develop a national framework for resilience that can be adopted for any sector: build scorecards, preparedness analysis, provide feedback on topics such as response improvement, governance and population vulnerability. It will adopt a “network of networks” approach that fully considers the cascading effects from different sources and sectors.

The second sub project will focus on the social, societal, and policy dimensions of national-level resilience-building as they cut across the various aspects of resilience such as physical, technological, informational, and economic. Identifying stakeholders, analysing public networks and developing the required governance structure and mechanisms are part of this stage.

The cluster will focus on resilience of three important sectors. The first sector is physical infrastructure (sub-project 3), which includes water supply, power generation, and the transportation network. The second sector is manufacturing systems (sub-project 4), which will improve the preparedness of the supply chain network in order to open alternatives for enhancing national resilience. The third sector (sub-project 5) is industrial plants and facilities, including upstream (oil and gas production) and downstream products. Within these three areas, the team aims to identify risks and stressors, develop inventory of sector components, and conduct significance and gap analysis.

Masad said, “This project is based on the merit that achieving a deep and truly effective national resilience framework with added value for policymaking and business continuity is only achieved by accounting for the human, social, behavioural, and larger societal factors affecting physical and technological assets. Disruptions will occur, and there will be constant stressors. Lack of preparedness or a comprehensive coping strategy in the face of disruptive events (both natural and man-made) could have severe and negative economic, social, or environmental implications. It is imperative that we design a system which allows us to recover in a rapid and efficient manner.”

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31/10/2022
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